When the digital revolution in healthcare started, adoption of EHR solutions grew exponentially. Healthcare services and technology companies made a name for themselves, valued at approximately $35 billion in 2016. However, over these years, these providers did not grow in scope beyond EHRs, the same is the case with medical devices and other providers. There was no thought on interoperability and engagement! Despite the current and potential growth, these companies that go solo won’t be able to sustain for long.
A recent McKinsey study puts together some interesting facts about the healthcare services and technology companies, stating that this sector is going strong with a sustained 7% CAGR. However, the study focussed on the increasing shift to patient-centricity and the need for an integrated healthcare platform to achieve scale and engagement. Given healthcare’s future growth potential worth being more than $500 billion, more and more health IT solution providers would be streamlining their efforts into making healthcare frictionless. But for a system that aims to provide patient-centric care across the continuum, healthcare remains a patchwork when looked closely. There are little avenues for participants to interact- unlike other sectors such as retail or travel. And if we look even more closely, this void of zero integration is what stems out the efficiencies in healthcare and claims over $36 billion every year.
Healthcare has multiple systems, applications, but not equivalent efficiency
It’s not uncommon for healthcare organizations to have multiple systems within their practice. In fact, an average hospital has as many as 16 distinct EHRs in use. Add that to the bunch of practice management systems, billing, claims data, and whatnot- and healthcare is no less than a mix of colliding initiatives spread across inpatient and outpatient settings. And there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different applications built for different purposes.
The fragmented healthcare has led to:
The aim of connected healthcare begins with an integrated platform
Amidst the transition to a data-oriented healthcare and a myriad of applications, organizations seem to overlook one very significant detail- the data remains the same. Once clinical, claims, billings, and all the crucial datasets are integrated on a single platform, they can be efficiently used to power several of healthcare processes such as:
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Achieving the long-standing healthcare interoperability
According to a study, interoperable processes can save healthcare as much as $36 billion. From fragmented information to broken data exchange, the lack of interoperability in the current healthcare paradigm leads to missing or faulty patient records, redundant tests and procedures, and in worst cases- wrong treatment. Additionally, with fragmented data, providers have limited visibility into the state of their population health. There could be updates in patient health or immediate gaps in care that need attention- but the lack of real-time information hinders the quality in the care we aim to achieve. Not to mention how much time is wasted as physicians try to make sense of the handful of data they have, and how patients inefficiently navigate their care journey.
The responsibility to deliver outcomes in the transformative healthcare
The McKinsey study emphasized on the need for healthcare technology providers to innovate for navigating the transformation maze of healthcare data. As the healthcare services and technology market evolves, there are some questions both the solution providers and the traditional players should address.
Healthcare services and technology companies:
The traditional players:
Efficiency in healthcare is a function of integrated approach
Having outlined the above questions, the one question which providers, technology companies and the healthcare ecosystem needs to focus on is ‘How to establish free interaction amongst all healthcare participants?’
It’s surprising how as the healthcare expands, the segments need to become more cohesive and harmonized. The metamorphoses we are seeing with industry-wide mergers and acquisitions and the emerging technologies, it’s clear that an integrated approach is what we should continue to pursue. If we really aim to reduce costs in healthcare and more importantly, enhance the quality of care for every dollar spent, we need to not just hope, but demand that change- and with room for improvement worth $500 billion in healthcare, now is the right time for a change.
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